A comprehensive look at Indiana Avenue

Chatham Arch resident Aleta Hodge has penned a new book that celebrates the lauded history of jazz and other musicians of Indiana Avenue, her family and the African American neighborhood that molded her.

Indiana Avenue – Life and Musical Journey from 1915 to 2015 shows the robust legacy of music including ragtime, blues, jazz, spiritual, bebop, doo wop, Motown, opera and hip hop.

A diverse array of Indiana music legends are represented, including Wes Montgomery, J.J. Johnson, Freddie Hubbard, The Ink Spots, David Baker, Slide Hampton, Hoagy Carmichael, Angela Brown and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds.

Said well-known Indianapolis author Dan Wakefield, “The “hidden treasures” of the great jazz music from Indiana Avenue is chronicled in an important new book by Aleta Hodge. This is an in-depth look at some of the great jazz musicians from Indianapolis who gained national and worldwide fame but were seldom recognized or celebrated in the mainstream media of their own hometown.”

Jamey Aebersold, jazz saxophonist and jazz educator at jazzbooks.com, followed suit. “Aleta Hodge has captured a significant portion of America’s great musical history with this historically revealing book,” Aebersold said. “She gives us an in-depth view of what musical life in Naptown was like over the span of 100 years. I’ve never seen many of her insights in print before and her writing style makes me feel I personally know all these wonderful people who helped make history right here in mid-America. Captivating book. A must read.”

Christian McBride, jazz bassist and host of National Public Radio’s Jazz Night in America, offered praise. “Having once played in the bands of both Freddie Hubbard and J.J. Johnson,” McBride said, “I listened and learned quite a bit about the history of Indiana Avenue. It’s a rich and storied history. One that probably could not ever exist again.”

Hodge, who heads her own consulting firm in the area of technical writing services, also discusses life during racially segregated times to current diversified times. The important contributions of women and women’s empowerment for 100 years are highlighted. Glimpses of the African American Hodge family are interwoven with the musical history.

Over 60 photos and maps illustrate the rich and notable history of Indiana Avenue.

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